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Question DetailsAsked on 1/22/2018

Should I have a structural engineer inspect cause of crack?

We purchased the house 2 months ago and had a relatively clean inspection. Since moving in it’s been cold and a 45 degree crack which had been previously patched (apparently) has opened up above a span on the first floor. It starts where the drywall meets the 2nd floor flooring, though it isn’t lengthening over the past few weeks. Given the nature and location, is it worth having a structural engineer do an inspection?

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Tough call, and of course if you are in doubt the answer should be call a Sructural Engineer.


My guess as to the cause, ASSUMING there is no significant cracking on the underside of that drywall encapsulated beam, is that the overlying wall next to the balustrade is a non-load bearing wall which was fastened to the overlying roof trusses and they lifted with the cold, dry weather - pulling that stubwall upwards, tearing the drywall in the process. Again, this assumes no significant cracking on the underside of the beam. If that is the case, normally a non-load bearing wall like that if NOT fastened to the overlying joists or trusses would have a crack appear at the junction of wall and ceiling as the truss or joists lifted.


If this were a beam failure situation, I would be expecting (not seeing what the rest of the feraming for the house looks like) that the crack would have gone the other direction - up towards the right, assuming that the beam itself is actually supported under that corner like it looks like.


Personally, if this were in my house, and again assuming no significant/open cracking on the underside of the beam and no growing cracks at the ends of it or significant (more than 1/2" or so) sagging, I would just watch the crack. Put a light pencil mark (maybe with date) at the bottom (small) end to see if it grows. Obviously, if nothing more happens before spring, then you could assume that is all there is to it and patch it. I would (come spring) use a high extensability index PAINTABLE siliconized latex caulk to fill the crack to give it more chance of not cracking again in the future, and paint over it, with the realization this may happen again in very dry or cold weather.


If it grows significantly or you hear cracking noises there, then call a Structural Engineer for sure.

Answered 9 months ago by LCD

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Answered 9 months ago by Jwhitey555

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Thanks LCD, makes a lot of sense and I appreciate the answer!

Answered 9 months ago by Jwhitey555




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